Engaging audiences: what do visitors want?

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 16 Jul 2009

What do visitors want from their museum visit?

A pre-schooler dressed up as a dinosaur

A pre-schooler dressed up as a dinosaur
Photographer: Stuart Humphreys © Australian Museum

Research has shown that visitors have the following wants when visiting museums:

  • experiences that encourage discovery, interaction, cater for the unexpected, provide many pathways to explore, give a taste for what happens behind-the-scenes and are fun
  • content that is challenging, real, authoritative, meaningful, encourages questions and is well-organised and easy to navigate
  • staff that can relate to all kinds of visitors, are respectful of visitors’ ideas and views, are knowledgeable in their field and are easy to talk to
  • opportunities to socialise, hang out with family/friends and learn together

What do you think?


Lynda Kelly - 5.07 PM, 29 July 2010

Thnx for your comment. As mentioned earlier, there is not one that is most important for visitors - it depends on a range of factors.

s41 - 9.05 PM, 12 May 2010
Lynda, Would you say from your findings that 'experiences that encourage discovery' are important to people? And how do Australian Museums facilitate this?
Lynda Kelly - 7.07 AM, 31 July 2009
Hi there and thnx for your interest. What I've found is that factor is not more important than another. What tends to happen is that a combination of these are uppermost in visitors' minds and these are fluid and changing. One or more factors may be more prominent at particular times or visit circumstances. However, if I did have to nominate one it would be the social aspects of the visit - that is the most consistent finding in all the research I (and others) have done.
shinjye - 12.07 PM, 22 July 2009
looks interesting... However, Which is the most important one for visitors? Just curious......

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